Veterans Advocacy Clinic Students (from left) Rachel Roush, Brad DeFlumeri, Alex Jonese, C.J. Reid, and Kirsten Lilly pose with United States Marine Corps Veteran Joe Gero (third from left), of Madison, during the students’ visit to VFW Post 5578.

Veterans Advocacy Clinic (VAC) Students Travel to Meet Charleston-Area Veterans

On Monday, January 16, 2017, student clinicians serving in the Veterans Advocacy Clinic (VAC) at the West Virginia University College of Law had the pleasure of travelling to Madison, WV, a small community located approximately 35 miles southwest of Charleston, to meet and exchange ideas with veterans of the Daniel Boone Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5578, Madison, West Virginia.

The meeting provided the opportunity for the student clinicians to see first-hand some of the issues that West Virginia veterans have with navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits bureaucracy, a system through which the VAC often guides local veterans by representing them on benefits claims and appeals.

WVU Veterans Advocacy Clinic Students Earn Federal Court Victories for Two American Heroes

Students in the WVU Veterans Advocacy Clinic (VAC) have successfully represented two American veterans in two different appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).  The VAC represents both of these veterans as a result of its partnership with the Washington, DC-based Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program.

In the Fall 2016 Semester, two student teams represented United States Air Force Veteran Thomas R. Wooten in an expedited appeal before the CAVC.  The student attorneys argued on appeal that the Board of Veterans Appeals had erred in not finding that Mr. Wooten was entitled to an earlier effective date for the payment of special monthly compensation (SMC) due to his extensive service-connected disabilities.  The CAVC agreed and, on September 30, 2016, the Court granted the parties’ joint request to vacate and set aside the Board’s decision denying Mr. Wooten’s claim. The VAC student teams continue to provide pro bono legal assistance to Mr. Wooten on his SMC claims before the agency on remand.

W. Virginia U. veterans law clinic to use $10,000 grant for statewide assistance, director says

MORGANTOWN (West Virginia Record) – A recent $10,000 grant award to the West Virginia University College of Law’s Veterans Advocacy Clinic will aid in its mission to serve the approximately 170,000 veterans in the state, the clinic's director said during a recent interview.

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program grant was awarded as part of a competitive grant application and review process," said Jennifer Oliva, the clinic's inaugural director, during an email interview with The West Virginia Record. "Each year the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program offers grants to law school veterans’ clinics to launch their operations or to advance their work on behalf of veterans and their loved ones or their survivors."

Veterans Law Clinic Group Photo

WVU Law Clinics Serve Homeless Veterans at 2016 Stand Down

On September 29, 2016, the WVU Law Clinics provided legal services to homeless and unemployed veterans at the 2016 Veterans Stand Down. Stand Downs are typically one- to three-day events providing supplies and services to homeless Veterans, such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings and VA Social Security benefits counseling. Veterans can also receive referrals to other assistance such as health care, housing solutions, employment, substance use treatment and mental health counseling. They are collaborative events, coordinated between local VA Medical Centers, other government agencies and community-based homeless service providers. This year’s Stand Down, which was sponsored by the Clarksburg VA Medical Center, was held at the Morgantown National Guard Armory.

Students from the Veterans Advocacy, General Practice, Child and Family Advocacy and WV Innocence Project gathered at the Armory to provide legal outreach services to local homeless veterans throughout the Stand Down. “I am proud that so many WVU Law clinical students—many of whom are not enrolled in the Veterans Advocacy Clinic—volunteered at the Stand Down and came out to provide support and services to our veteran neighbors most in need,” said Associate Professor Jennifer Oliva, an Army veteran who Directs the Veterans Advocacy Clinic. In the military, a “Stand Down” afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being. Today’s “Stand Downs” afford the same opportunity to our homeless veterans – an often invisible population exceeding 100,000 former servicemembers.

WVU VETERANS ADVOCACY CLINIC RECEIVES $10,000 NATIONAL GRANT AWARD

WVU Veterans Advocacy Clinic Receives $10,000 National Grant Award

On September 29, 2016, the Washington, DC-based Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program awarded the WVU Veterans Advocacy Clinic (VAC) a grant in the amount of $10,000 to advocate on behalf of veterans in need of comprehensive legal services throughout the state of West Virginia. Commander David H. Myers presented the grant award to the VAC at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center’s 2016 Veterans Stand Down. Commander Myers, a Navy Veteran and former Navy judge advocate, currently serves as the Consortium’s Director of Case Evaluation and Placement.

Demonstrating its commitment to veterans across the state, the West Virginia College of Law has expanded its Veterans Assistance Project from a practice area within the General Clinic to a stand-alone Veterans Advocacy Clinic (VAC). The VAC is staffed with eight student attorneys and directed by Associate Professor Jennifer Oliva, a graduate of the United States Military Academy and an Army veteran. Under Professor Oliva’s leadership, the VAC has develop a partnership with the Veterans Consortium in which the clinic students represent veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) and the Veterans Consortium provides the clinic with client referrals, training, mentoring support and grant opportunities.